I am pretty well known in my family for being the keeper of memories. Part of that, because I have multiple sclerosis and with it various memory problems,is that I have a lot of things. One of the ways I manage my memory problems is by having cues. They are similar to the prompts that a actor might use if they were doing a play that did not have a set script.

So for example, I have many items in my home from my grandparents on my mother’s side. Each one of these items reminds me of many different memories, ways to do things, and mental images. This is in addition to helping me keep the memory of that person alive in my brain. The disadvantage to this, with a very small house, is that I am frequently accused of having a lot of clutter.

This poem spoke to be especially because all summer we have been working on adding storage to this house, and unpacking my belongings. Most of these have been in storage for almost 2 years well I went from apartment to hospital to living with my daughter and eventually settling down with my fiance. Each individual box has hundreds of memories, tools, books, and other items and I have to literally think through each item. I consider not only what it does for me and wether it will fit into the house but also if it is important enough to live in my spare room (which is really just a storage unit down the street). With 15 kids (even though some are ex-steps and some ex- foster kids) there is also a strong desire to hang onto things that, like my mother’s Noritake China set, I especially want to hand down to each of them. Fortunately I am not that young, and almost all of my kids are adults. My biological son Charlie, and my biological daughter Katrina both have apartments here in New Hampshire and have already taken a good amount of of their things. my adopted daughter Janel, and my ex step Nicole are both getting ready to move in the next year and once they do more items will find their way to new homes.

In the end, I struggle with the same thing as in this poem: the fact that nearly everything in those boxes has at least one purpose and it least one cue which makes it difficult to decide what to keep and what to send off into the world like a chick being pushed out of a nest. along the way, I’m more and more have to put my face in people with me like my family, or in my written words to safeguard that the memories contained in the objects are not lost to the ravages of disease and time. It is yet another teaching moment for me, as God slowly and patiently guides me in the decision of what to keep and what to give away.

Thank you for bringing words to the silent struggle I, and so many others, engage in!

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